Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Editorials

Another voice: Don’t get too cocky, Dems

RECOMMENDED READING


For months, the Virginia gubernatorial race has been seen as a bellwether of the Democratic Partyís capacity to rebound from its stunning loss to Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential contest, and the results were about as good as Democrats could have hoped for. In what polls had suggested would be a neck-and-neck race, the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, trounced Republican Ed Gillespie by nine points, and Democrats picked up 14 seats in the stateís House of Delegates. And it wasnít just in Old Dominion that Democrats dominated. They picked up New Jerseyís governorship, seats in Georgiaís legislature, and a senate seat in Washington State that gives them complete control of the governorís mansions and legislatures up and down the West Coast. Maine voters overwhelmingly decided to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and one of the leading social conservatives in the Virginia House lost to a political newcomer who happens to be a transgender woman. Exit polls and turnout figures suggested an anti-Trump surge that more than overcame Democratsí traditional weakness in off-year elections, and analysts are now suggesting the party may be the favorite to control the House of Representatives after next yearís midterm elections.

All we can say is, donít get too cocky, Democrats.

The spate of wins for the party donít erase the fissures that hobbled it in 2016 and have prevented it from unifying behind much of anything since except antipathy toward President Trump. Before Tuesday night, the big political story of the week for Democrats was the publication of former Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazileís tell-all memoir detailing the combination of management dysfunction, missed opportunities and hubris that doomed Ms. Clintonís candidacy last year.

On Tuesday, Democrats won plenty of races based on votersí enthusiasm to send an anti-Trump message. But the task in the midterms is much tougher. Democrats need to pick up three seats to control the U.S. Senate, but they are defending 25 of the 33 seats that will be up for election next year, and they would need to run the table and then some on the states that are expected to be competitive. Democrats have to pick up 24 seats to take the House, and despite polls showing a double-digit advantage for the party in a generic congressional ballot test, incumbency and gerrymandering make that a heavy lift.

Off-year wave elections happen with some regularity, but itís much more difficult to pull off without a clear agenda, and Democrats, still fighting the Hillary vs. Bernie primary, donít have one other than opposing whatever Trump does or says.

As we head toward 2018, itís clear that neither Republican ethnic nationalism nor Democratic identity politics can heal the divisions in American society or answer the problems we face in the 21st century. Anti-Trump fervor papered over that issue for Democrats on Tuesday, but thatís going to be harder in 2018 and might be impossible in 2020.

Comments
Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

In a state with the nationís highest portion of residents over 65 years old and more than 80,000 nursing home beds, public records about those facilities should be as accessible as possible. Yet once again, Florida is turning back the clock to the da...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: A time of reckoning on sexual misconduct

Stories about powerful men engaging in sexual misconduct are becoming so common that, as with mass shootings, the country is in danger of growing inured to them. But unlike the tragic news about that latest deranged, murderous gunman, the massive out...
Published: 11/20/17

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "Iím pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: Itís time to renew communityís commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractorsí labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractorsí labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise ó for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system ó one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Krisemanís new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Krisemanís new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Krisemanís own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USFís billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USFís billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old ó barely middle age among higher education institutions ó USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17